Journaling On Our Journeys…

My guest is Carol Round, the author of Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God  Journaling has definitely helped me along the way, so I’m glad to welcome Carol. She’s offering a free book to one person drawn from all commenters, so go for it! 

In a warm and conversational tone, Carol describes the benefits and practices of prayer journaling as a discipline to help the reader draw closer to God, discern that still, small voice and set the reader on a journey of spiritual growth. With biblical evidence of the advantages of this form of prayer, Journaling with Jesus: How to Draw Closer to God also provides real-life examples from other women who prayer journal as well the author’s own personal experiences. With encouragement, inspiration and resources offered in this book, women will be supported in their desire to grow spiritually. The final chapter in the book encourages the reader to sign a covenant with God to keep a prayer journal for 40 days.

Here’s a review of Carol’s book: five out of five stars, Lynnon July 12, 2014

I love this book. Unlike other books I have read on this subject, this one is very practical. The author helps you to grasp the vital importance of spiritual journaling. The author is very real, honestly sharing her own life experience. She also gives additional resources from other people to help you as you embark on your own journaling adventure. This book is great for people who have never started to keep a journal as well as for those who already are journaling. I often struggled to maintain the practice of keeping a spiritual journal in the past. Now I am more convinced of the extreme value and am very motivated to not neglect this opportunity to grow closer to Jesus.

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And now, a few words from Carol: Journaling to a More Authentic Relationship with the Lord

Are you as close to God as you want to be? If not, did you know you can have a more authentic relationship with your Heavenly Father through the spiritual discipline of prayer journaling?

Through keeping a daily prayer journal you can

  • Learn to recognize the voice of your heavenly Father and come to know Him as your dearest friend. Your Creator God wants a relationship with you. John 20:27 says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
  • Journaling is a healthy habit helping you to slow down and eliminate “hurry” from your life. Can you relate? I can. Jesus was never in a hurry. How does this help your relationship with the Lord? James 4:8 tells us, “And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you.”
  • Journaling allows you to appreciate the extraordinary in the ordinary. Those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder find it difficult to find joy during the winter. One morning, I began to notice the beauty found in the grays and browns of a winter landscape. The limbs and bark of leafless trees drew my attention and I began to notice the patterns and shapes. I realized God’s beauty can be found in the ordinary. Psalms 17:1 says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.”
  • Helps you to listen better—to God and to people. Learning to listen for the still, small voice of God teaches you to learn to listen to people. How often are we focused on what our response will be instead of focusing on what the other person is sharing? When we spend time with God, reading scripture and writing in our prayer journal, we’re focused on Him. In Mark 4:23-24, Jesus tells us “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more.”
  • Builds your prayer life and increases your faith. By looking back through your previous prayer journals, you’ll see how faithful God is when we take time for Him, trusting that He knows what is best for us. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”

Connect with Carol:

Blog: http://carolaround.com/
Book website: http://journalingwithjesus.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/carolaround
Twitter: http://twitter.com/carolaround
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/Carol-Round/e/B0083ZEAWI/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

another 2015 publicity photo copy

Carol Round
Columnist/Author/Speaker

 

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” <*\\\\><

More bird pictures… The wonderful thing about these creatures is they really don’t have to do a thing, and they still bring people pleasure.

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My husband and I rarely paid much attention to them in years past, and had always heard that you know you’re old when you start bird watching.

 

These things slip on a person, you know? You focus on rearing a family and making a living and then, ta da … you suddenly find time to fill your camera with the likes of these.

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Some folks take time sooner, and  circumstances can hurry this transformation along. Kate Isaacs, the heroine of my new release, would agree to that. Her World War II involvement produced changes in her perceptions of the world , her “take” on situations and people.

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We might recognize alterations in our parents or grandparents due to that same war.

 

 

I hope  Kate’s dangerous wartime adventures will intrigue readers, and take them into a deeper understanding of how World War II affected their loved ones. If you cheered Addie on during the beginning of the war, don’t worry, she’s now in London, with a much brighter future. One way or the other, war has a way of turning things around.

FEBRUARY 24: release day.  Preorder at http://tinyurl.com/jmvc36a

 

Valentine’s Day – Love It or Hate It?

Our author guest today, Kimberly Rose Johnson, married her college sweetheart and lives in the Pacific Northwest. From a young child Kimberly has been an avid reader. That love of reading fostered a creative mind and led to her passion for writing.

She writes contemporary romance that warms the heart and feeds the soul. Kimberly holds a degree in Behavioral Science from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington and  is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers.

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Kimberly, please tell us the story behind A Love Song for Kayla

I haven’t been a fan of Valentine’s Day since I was a young child when it was fun to decorate a shoebox for my classmates to slip cards into. As an adult, in my opinion, the day doesn’t live up to the hype. One year on Valentine’s I decided to express my frustration with the special day for sweethearts by writing.

I sat down at my computer and created a character who felt exactly the same way I did about Valentine’s, but I made it even harder for her. She owns a florist shop where she can’t escape her least favorite day of the year.

As writers it’s our job to make our character’s lives challenging. That way they have something to overcome. Because this is a romance story, I needed a bigger than life hero. Enter Derek—a man hiding in the small Oregon town from his life as a music superstar.

I wanted to create strong, successful characters who still had things to overcome-that’s what makes them come to life.

That was how A Love Song for Kayla came to be. I’m happy to say, writing Kayla’s story was cathartic. I no longer have such strong feelings about Valentine’s Day. Kayla’s tune also changed when she met Derek.

Here is a little bit about the story.

Ever since she was sixteen, Kayla Russell has dreamed of her perfect man. She even went so far as to make a list of desired qualities. The list has proven to be a bust since no man is that perfect, at least until she meets Derek. But will his secrets come between them and destroy what could have been something wonderful?

When music superstar Derek Parker comes to small town Oregon to escape the paparazzi he goes incognito as a deliveryman. He wants to leave his old life behind, but it proves to be harder than he realized when his past finds him. Now the woman he has come to care for feels deceived and no longer wants anything to do with him.

For all of you who don’t enjoy the day, take heart, it’s only one day. For the rest of you, I hope you have a wonderful day with your sweetheart.

Love Song ebook

 

 

What an intriguing look in this heroine’s eyes … so go for it, readers. Kimberley’s giving away an e-book  of this lovely novel to one fortunate commenter.

 

Sign up for Kimberly’s newsletter at her website:  http://kimberlyrjohnson.com/index.html

Links: http://amzn.to/2kl4Urd

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KimberlyRoseJohnson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kimberlyrosejoh

 

Enjoying The Simple Things

Painting, re-arranging furniture, taking some things to the thrift store, and finding a couple of small items to fit better into our new decor – all everyday activities, but we’ve been enjoying them. Maybe because no deadline looms, this re-doing has been a fun project.

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I’m reminded that I’ve never known a more conscientious worker than my husband, and am so grateful for his steady personality.

A neighbor took this picture of us the other day, with our house in the background.

It’s good to rest, to restore, to refurbish … together.

 

I’ve also been working on another book in the Women of The Heartland series while awaiting my first peek at With Each New Dawn – should arrive any day now! If you’d like a glimpse, click here: http://tinyurl.com/jmvc36a

Welcome to a Canadian author/giveaway

A big welcome to Janice L. Dick, an indie author from the Canadian prairies. She’s has been writing since 1989. IMG_3125Her work includes an historical fiction trilogy (now out-of-print but due for re-release), a contemporary cozy mystery as yet unpublished, short stories, dozens of book reviews, blogs, and a new historical series begun in 2016.

Other Side of the River

The first book in this series, Other Side of the River, is the story of a group of Mennonites in northern Siberia who flee across the Amur River into China to escape Stalin’s regime.

 

 

The soon-to-be-released sequel, In a Foreign Land, fictionalizes the account of a survivor who lived with his family in northern China from 1930 to 1951, through civil war, advancing Soviets, and the Korean War. Release date is estimated end of January.

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Janice says, “I love being able to share the feel of a certain time period, the economic and political background, the values and beliefs of my characters, the settings that go with it. But my main aim is to share hope. No matter how difficult the conflict facing the characters, I want the story to showcase God’s faithfulness and goodness.

“I first became interested in history by listening to my parents, aunts and uncles visit at my paternal grandparents’ home. Their memories and experiences fascinated me, as did the treacherous times they recalled from South Russia during the Russian Revolution and their consequent emigration. Pair that with my growing interest in Russian history—aided by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Pasternak—and you have a girl with dreams.

“However, in spite of my dreams, I didn’t know I could be an author. I was just an ordinary farm girl who loved reading and all the English, literature and composition classes in school. My time came once my children were all in school, and I became a founding member of a local writing group. From there, God led me to writing courses, conferences, presentations and organizations that helped me realize my dream of writing a novel…six novels now.

“A small publisher encouraged to write a short story set in contemporary mode instead of historical. I decided to go all out and write in first person as well, something I’d never done before. The result is a 10K “short” story called The Christmas Sweater. For a free digital copy, go to Smashwords, click the buy button beside my title, and add the code WZ65T.

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“Thank you, Gail, for featuring me and my writing on your site. Sharing promotion is a great way to help a fellow author.”

 

It’s been my pleasure, Janice. I hope my followers enjoy your story and go on to read all of your novels.

January Thoughts

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With my husband’s amazing photography here in the Arizona Ponderosa forest, I’ll share a few thoughts under the Mogollon Rim. (Notice how this little kinglet hovers before landing? This year’s the first Lance discovered her family living in our oak tree.)

I wish everyone could see this area’s beauty. Beauty plays a big role in relaxing us. In the past, we rarely took time to enjoy something like this together–so glad we can now.

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The word vacation’s Latin roots mean to “vacate” or cease working, to  enjoy leisure. Another aspect relates to emptying ourselves and then refilling. I think the emptying used to be the difficult part–everything seemed so important, so vital.

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But really, what’s more vital than time together?

On another note, I visited a Payson book club that chose to read In Times Like These next month – that’s exciting! And its sequel, With Each New Dawn, will release in February. Click on the new book cover to your right for more information.

And of course,  I’m working on the sequel.

A big YAY for Literary Fiction!

An excited, hearty welcome to Kristen Terrette, who has authored a romance, but now writes literary fiction.Kristen Headshot #2(small size), 2016

Kristen, why did you choose this genre?

Wikipedia defines literary fiction as a term used to distinguish certain fictional works that possess commonly held qualities to readers outside genre fiction. Literary fiction has been defined as any fiction that attempts to engage with one or more truths or questions, hence relevant to a broad scope of humanity as a form of expression.

That’s a lot of words to say it’s a genre with a little bit of everything and will touch on some hot-button topics. Some of the most famous ones are: The Help, Lord of the Flies, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Great Gatsby, Life of Pi…

You can see with those titles that literary fiction may stir up controversy, may evoke a sense of justice or compassion, or may just baffle logic. It isn’t always lighthearted and funny. It can be those things, but there will be an underlining message for all people, men and women, young and old. Literary fiction will span the gamut of human emotions…happiness, sadness, heartache, pain, love.

All that to say, I fell into writing in this genre. I started, See You Monday (which I am querying now), and once I was well into it, I decided, yes, this novel falls under literary fiction–at least I believe so! It is a story inspired by my mother’s childhood, things she went through or witnessed during a tumultuous time in history.

The story alternates between present day and the early sixties, during desegregation, the civil rights movement, Martin Luther King’s iconic speech, and even the Kennedy assassination. She was just a ten-year-old girl but through a course of crazy events, God became very real to her.

So why do I write literary fiction? Because my mother’s story needed to be told … had to be told. I feel the same way about the other literary fiction stories and plot lines occupying my mind that haven’t made it to the page…yet.

What’s your favorite literary fiction novel? Or do you steer clear of literary fiction? Why?

Kristen, I’ll be the first to answer, since I may not have internet access on January 20 and 21. I don’t steer clear of literary fiction–oh, no! I relish this genre, and am so glad to meet an author committed to writing it.

Literary fiction has instructed, comforted, and challenged me over five decades of reading. I hope more and more people will embrace this genre. Actually, I write women’s fiction, but feel it might be categorized as literary.

Kristen, thanks so much for visiting here, and I hope your article spurs lots of interaction.

Readers: Kristen is giving away anSafe_Harbor-Kristen_Terrette-500x800 e-copy of her contemporary romance Safe Harbor.  

Please leave a comment for her for a chance to win. Next time she visits, I hope See You Monday will have found a publishing home so she can offer you a copy of that! 

Contact Kristen: www.kristenterrette.com Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/authorkristenterrette/

Twiiter: https://twitter.com/KTerrette

On The Writing Process

Today, I welcome Connie Cockrell – we have yet to meet in person, but it’s fun to host an Arizona writer this week.

A 20-year Air Force career, time as a manager at a computer operations company, wife, mother, sister and volunteer, provides a rich background for Connie Cockrell’s story-telling.

Cockrell grew up in upstate NY, just outside of Gloversville before she joined the military at age 18. Having lived in Europe, Great Britain, and several places around the United States, she now lives in Payson, AZ with her husband: hiking, gardening, and playing bunko. She writes about whatever comes into her head so her books could be in any genre. She’s published fifteen books so far, has been included in five different anthologies and been published on EveryDayStories.com. Connie’s always on the lookout for a good story idea. Beware, you may be the next one.

She can be found at www.conniesrandomthoughts.com or on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/ConniesRandomThoughts or on Twitter at: @ConnieCockrell or on Amazon at amazon.com/author/conniecockrell

Connie, what motivated you to write fiction? 

I’ve always been interested in writing stories but I never knew how and with the press of working in the military and being a wife and mother and going to college, there just wasn’t time to figure it out. After I retired and moved to Arizona, my daughter moved in with us for a time. She met a young woman who was working on her first novel and told my daughter about National Novel Writing Month, a writing challenge to write 50,000 words, a short novel, in one month.

I asked my daughter how hard could that be and she challenged me to do and loaned me a copy of Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. Well, it was already mid-October, 2011, so I sped read through the book, put scene ideas on sticky notes on the back of the closet door and on 1 November, began writing my first book, The Bad Seed. I did the whole book in one month and it was pretty darned exciting. It took me months and months to rewrite and revise it but I did publish it in 2012.

Please tell us more …

One question I get all the time from readers is, “How do you write a book?” What they’re asking is, “How do you get started?”, “How do you know what to write?” and even, “Where do you get your ideas?”

The idea comes first. For me it’s usually plot. I see a documentary on TV, or read some trending memes on social media, or it’s a subject my friends are talking about. Anywhere, really. So, I get start with the question, “What if…,” then I take off. What could possibly happen in that situation? What people would be involved? How can I make the situation unusual? For example, instead of a down and out woman being the protagonist fighting against a corporate controlled world, what if I choose a woman from the upper 1% of the population? How would that change the story?

Then it’s a matter of writing those possible ideas down, lining them up, thinking up connecting scenes, maybe even adding a plot line or two. I arrange the scenes in some sort of order, doing my best to make sure the three or four-part story beats are in the right spots, and start to write.

After that it’s a matter of sitting down each day and writing to the scene. Do I stick strictly to the scene as written? Only as far as I get to the critical point, where the scene leads to the next one. But within the scene, I could create a new character from the past, I could reveal an unknown aspect of my character’s background. I could reveal a new plot line. All kinds of things could and do happen while I’m writing.

I don’t shoot for a certain number of words per chapter or book. It’s done when it’s done. Give it a try. It’s fun!

Connie’s giving away an e-book to a commenter. Just leave your contact info with your comment. Happy second week of January, 2017! 

A New Year’s Revolution

My husband and I have been playing Scrabble. Now, this is not something we often do in normal everyday life. But we’re on vacation, and one can only take SO MUCH football. (:

When we submit to a Scrabble game, I have to forego my degrees in English and my penchant for perfectionism with words. Once in a while, it’s good to allow another authority to call the shots. It’s good to let go.

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So, this little book becomes our guidebook, and for the purposes of our game, if it says something works as a word, it does.

In the process, we’ve learned a few new words. May you enjoy more and more times like this during 2017, when you’re able to suspend your usual routine and simply enjoy the moment!

Be Still

 

Once again, I’m borrowing from Jane Kirkpatrick’s newsletter, because there’s no way to     improve on this sentiment, especially at Christmas time. Thanks, Jane,and enjoy, everyone (not that you have time to spend reading blogs right now, but maybe sometime in the next few days!)

Be still and know that I am God.
Be still and know that I am.
Be still and know.
Be still.
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Somehow this mantra of peace came into my life. I breathe the words in like a precious prayer, speaking the first sentence…and then breathing out those same words with one long breath. Then I breathe in with the second sentence… and breathe out…and begin the third. I do this until I am at the final sentence, the shortest one, the ultimate assurance given by the first: Be. This practice helps me calm the day or night, soothe the racing thoughts of uncertainty and brings me rest. I may repeat it over and over as I wake to help prepare for the day ahead or as I wait in traffic or lie beside my husband waiting for sleep.

In this Christmas season, the practice takes on new meaning for me, especially the last sentence: Be. “Be not afraid” the angels told the shepherds and I’m told that “Be not afraid” is the most repeated sentiment expressed within the Bible recognizing our human propensity to worry and to be afraid.
This season I’m exploring the Be-ness of my life. May I Be courageous as Mary was as she walked into uncertainty. Be wise and willing as Joseph was as he approached the great mystery of Jesus birth and all that was happening over which he had no control. Be kind and make room for strangers as the Inn-keeper.

May I Be as generous as a Magi and as obedient, willing to take another route home. May I Be welcoming to those fleeing the Herods of this world as Jesus himself as a child did, running like a Syrian refugee. Be a voice as in later life, the woman at the well was, who told her friends of this Jesus she had met and what he had done to bring newness to her life. Be willing to be keep Christmas in our hearts all year long.

Writer and pastor Barbara Brown Taylor notes that the concordance mentions “Behold” more times than “Believe.” I’m reminded that the angels told the shepherds right after “Be not afraid” to “Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy.” Another writer once said that what each of us as human beings need in this life is three b’s: to belong, to be competent and to be loved.

Jesus embodies each of those giving us a place to belong, assurance of our capacity to be able do the work God sets before us and to recognize that we are beloved. “You are my beloved; with you I am well pleased” God says. And the gift of Jesus is that love come alive in our hearts everyday if we will be still and know.

Let your hearts be settled this season as I wish for each of you the blessings of being. “Be still and know that I am God. Be still and know that I am. Be still and know. Be still. Be.